AND THE CURSE OF 1920
When the last writing came out about the women keeping silent in the churches, one brother commented to me that as he read it, he felt that there was more that could be said about this matter regarding women. I had actually felt the same thing as I was writing it, but held back and stuck with the basics of the matter at hand. The purpose of this writing is to launch out and address some of those things that beg to be addressed, matters that, as you will see, are critical to this nation, to the church, and to the world.
This first part is once again a modification and expansion of a letter I sent to someone, this time to a man who was considering the divorce of his wife and marrying another. The error of this man’s desires was glaring; but like so many Christians, which this man is, he had the attitude that Christ was His savior and He would forgive him. This attitude in this situation is VERY dangerous, as you will see here.
Several years ago, a woman likewise grew tired of the ways of her husband and determined that she would divorce him. She was a Christian as well and knew what Yahshua said concerning divorce; but even so, was going to divorce her husband anyway. Her words concerning this were – “He (Yahshua) will just have to forgive me.”
I never forgot that extraordinary statement. “He will just have to forgive me.” Does He have to forgive her, as she assumes; and will He indeed do so? Would He forgive this man when he knows quite well that Yahshua said that to divorce and remarry is adultery? Will He forgive anyone when they willfully disregard and disobey Him? Is it always true that ”If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”? Is forgiveness carte blanche, a virtual license to sin with no consequences?
Some people view themselves as sinners, and one more sin means nothing. Some people get so weary of a bad marriage, they conclude that the sin is worth escaping the situation and finding “fulfillment” in this life. And the majority of people choose to believe that divorce and remarrying is not sin at all. But let’s see what the Scriptures say about this.
First of all, we know that Yahweh hates divorce! This is clearly and very strongly stated – “’For I hate divorce,’ says Yahweh” (Malachi 2:16)! We also know that Yahshua forbids divorce, which is equally clearly stated – “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” And He likewise clearly stated that anyone who divorces and marries another commits adultery, except in the case of infidelity (Matthew 19:3-9).
But despite these clear statements, many are willing to commit adultery and disregard the consequences. And again, many think that God is just going to forgive them, even though they know it is wrong; or they choose to believe it is not wrong. But I assure you, He will not forgive them! How can we know this?
If we willfully violate what Yahshua has said about divorce and remarriage (or any sin), knowing that it is wrong and adultery, Hebrews 10:26-27 very specifically warns us:
For if we sin willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.
This is a very sobering and clear warning! First, Yahshua Himself told us not to divorce. And since the marriage union is permanent (other than in the case of infidelity), if we do divorce and marry another, it is adultery. Or if we marry another who is divorced (except for the case of infidelity), we commit adultery (Matthew 5:31-32). And in this same passage it even goes on to say that when a man divorces his wife (except for the case of infidelity), he makes her commit adultery. In other words, the one who divorces their spouse is accountable for their spouses’ adultery if they remarry. And for anyone who willfully chooses to do any of these, there no longer remains a sacrifice for their sin(s)! What could be clearer?
This same truth regarding accountability for willful sin is echoed in Numbers 15:29-31. Yahshua is the fulfillment of the Old Testament sacrifice for sins, and we find that that forgiveness was specifically for sins committed “unintentionally.”
“You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them. But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an alien, that one is blaspheming Yahweh; and that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has despised the word of Yahweh and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off; his guilt will be on him.”
And if you dare to think that this message has no resonance, then read Yahshua’s like warning in Luke 12:47-48. The Greek word here for “slave,” is the same word translated “bond-servant” in such passages as Luke 2:29 and where Paul, James, Peter, Jude, and John made claim to being slaves/bond-servants of Yahshua the Messiah.
"And that slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
The degree of recompense for your actions is determined by what you know; and you have the word of God and have no excuse for your errors, or any reason for not being held accountable. And if pastors and teachers have led you astray in the past, then they will receive a stricter judgment, even as they are warned (James 3:1). You are both sharers in your wrong. But even as Yahshua told Pilate when He was brought before him – “he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin” (John 19:11), so pastors and teachers have the greater sin for teaching people lies such as divorce and remarriage, or for failing to teach people the truth. They will be held accountable, but so will you. The solution then is – fear God, and do what is right! He will not be slack concerning His word!
The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, as well as Matthew 10:28, 1 Peter 2:17, Revelation 14:7, and many like invocations).
This is obviously a very weighty matter! Furthermore, in Hebrews 6:4-6 we similarly read:
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.
Those who divorce and remarry fall away from truth when they willfully sin, and will be held accountable for it, crucifying to themselves the Son of God and putting Him to open shame. Furthermore, not only do they defile the kingdom of God here on earth, but out of their own selfishness they defile another person to whom they join themselves, causing them to be a partner to adultery. It is incredible how people willfully ignore these things, and how churches do not have the moral compass or even strength to teach and uphold them. They would rather keep people happy and content so as not to disturb things. But in fact, they do grave harm to them and to the kingdom by both their error and their silence!
Also, 2 Peter 2:20-21 warns:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to them.
Yahshua’s words concerning divorce and remarrying are most certainly a holy commandment handed to us, and one’s personal responsibility and accountability is amplified in knowing these things.
Many people say that they love Yahshua, but even so choose to do their own will in these emotional matters. But Yahshua said – “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and we know that one of His clear commandments is to not divorce, and if divorced to not remarry and commit adultery, or to cause another to commit adultery. But again, it is incredible how many people are willing to roll the dice with their souls and be willing to lose them, all because they want to do their own will for their own temporary pleasure and comfort.
The man I was talking with proceeded to tell me that he knew God wanted him to be happy and fulfilled, so he was going to forsake his wife and marry that someone who would be God’s gift of happiness to him. My reply was that he was creating a god in his own image, after his own pleasures. How was it that God would want him to do this when He specifically instructed him to not divorce or remarry? This was another god he was fashioning. The man finally conceded that this was indeed right; but it is symptomatic of the overriding pleasure-mentality of people today.
When we reject clearly stated truths such as this concerning marriage, divorce, and adultery, we become what the Scriptures call an “unreasoning animal.” That is what this man was doing. Reason would tell you that God is not going to violate His own instruction. But like an animal, many will go by their fleshly desires and natural impulses, and not reason with truth concerning the full consequences of what they are doing.
If we reject Yahshua’s word, then we deny Him, and He has warned us – “whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:33). Furthermore, there are even those who think they are doing His will (though violating His ways and the Scriptures, including letting women teach and govern), even performing miracles and prophesying and casting out demons in His name, but who will be told to depart from Him because they “practice lawlessness.” Lawlessness is refusing to keep His instruction, therefore He adds – “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matthew 7:21-23). Don’t be too confident that He will receive you, if you are not willing to prove yourself by doing His will, which He clearly stated regarding marriage. We prove that we do not know Him when we do not walk in His ways and obey Him.
The things we have addressed here have all been negatives; but we must recognize what is at stake, and that negatives are a clear and looming reality for anyone who chooses to willfully sin. We dare not take the consequences of our actions lightly! Yahshua said that He will recompense every man according to his deeds (Matthew 16:27). This must be our attitude then concerning what we do. We must consider the long-term affects of what we do, and not go by immediate gratification. Will we prove ourselves to be faithful, effectual doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves (James 1:23, 25)?
You may think you are just living a life while you are on this earth. You’re not! You’re living a test as to how you will respond to the will and instruction of your Creator. Life is not what you get out of it; it is how you respond to it and how you conform to the ways of Yahweh. Again, we cannot be an “unreasoning animal” and just live for our pleasures and instant gratification. Live life for the future, not just for the present.
Let us follow the words of Peter who instructed us – entrust your soul to a faithful Creator and do what is right (1 Peter 4:19), not what your flesh wants. Peter also said – “if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20). Let us live for this purpose! If things are going difficult in your marriage, then entrust your soul to Yahweh and do what is right.
What is right? The specific answer to this question is relative to every situation; but there are some standards that are firmly set and clearly stated, and these are to be followed in every marriage.
(1.) The husband is the head of the home, and his head is Yahshua – “Christ is the head of every man” (1 Corinthians 11:3).
(2.) The husband is to love and honor his wife.
(3.) The wife is to obey her husband.
(4.) Divorce is not an option (except in the case of infidelity).
If you cannot hold to this governmental structure, then as the apostles told Yahshua when He laid down the government of marriage, “it is better not to marry” (Matthew 19:10). Don’t get married! If you are married, then there are no other options, except to willfully sin, and for this you will be held accountable.
So many problems and disagreements (even theologically) would be avoided if proper government was recognized and respected. Government is like unto the skeleton in the human body. The skeleton is rigid and constant, unbending; unlike muscles or organs that can move and flex. Its rigidity gives definition to the body; and because of its rigidity, the muscles and organs can function correctly and the body have mobility and productivity. Without the skeleton, muscles are useless. Muscles and certainly organs can even be removed from the body without ill or noticeable or even crippling affects. This is not true with the skeleton. (Even the hearing ear is by virtue of the body’s smallest bones.)
So it is with government. Like the skeleton, it too is rigid and predictable, giving much needed definition; and so it must be in order for life and productivity to exist. And government cannot be removed or altered without ill or noticeable or even crippling affects. Government is highly determining structure, and everything is built around it. The ultimate success and function of anything is determined first and foremost by government.
Today the home is in complete disarray. Why? Because there is no respected, God-established government. Women want to be the head of the home, or at least an equal partner (both of which are sin). Men and women base the union of marriage on happiness, “love,” and fulfillment, not on government. So when there is not the government of “no divorce,” there is no structure that holds the two together; thus we have a highly elevated divorce rate. And since these two came together on the inherently fragile basis of happiness, “love,” and fulfillment, then when any of these fleeting elements no longer exist, there is no longer a basis for the marriage.
This is why marriages in the Bible were arranged by the family, which is confirmed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:36-38. What then was the basis of that union? It was based on government – respect for the governmental order of the home, respect for parents, and respect for the family. That was the sound basis of that marriage, and it stood. But today we have removed government from the home and replaced it with social dating and personal fulfillment. That basis is immensely flawed, weak, and fleeting! A marriage based on personal fulfillment is only as strong as the feelings of each party. Like the house built upon the sand, it has no foundation and will fall, and great will be its fall. Western dating is thus a travesty, a flawed and proven failed system.
What then is needed for the marriage? Godly government! Godly structure! The influence of parents, the husband is the head, the wife obeys her husband, and divorce is not an option!
Frankly, godly government is the answer to every social issue there is on the earth. Our problems today exist because we fail to respect government. How is it that teens today can respect their parents or civil authorities, when the wife does not obey her husband? By her own ill actions, her example, she sows rebellion into the children and reaps what she sowed. Even the world is in trouble today because there is no King in the land to govern – Yahshua. Until He comes to establish His world government, as it is stated in Judges 17:6 and 21:25, every man does what is right in his own eyes. This is a lack of government, and godly world government is the only solution to this problem, and every problem – for the home, for society, and for the world.
Let’s look at the present-day reality regarding divorce. In September, 2004, the Christian-based company, The Barna Group, Ltd., published a report on the likelihood of divorce among “born again” Christians versus non-Christians. It found that the likelihood of married adults getting divorced is identical in both groups. One out of ever three “born again” Christians, or 35%, have been divorced, a level that is identical with those who are not “born again” – 35%. This, of course, adds puzzlement as to what is meant by the term “believer” – “believer” in the Son of God (which the demons do as well – James 2:19), or believer in what He instructed? It also found that one out of every five Christians (23%) have been divorced multiple times!
One would question if these divorces occurred before or after their conversion, but Barna found that “relatively few divorced Christians experienced their divorce before accepting Christ as their savior,” lowering that figure by only one percentage point.
The divorce rate among Catholics was 25%, while Protestants were at 39%, even higher than non-Christians. And among Protestants, Pentecostals led the way at 44%! It is quite revealing that these Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are the ones that practice the very things which Yahshua said some would make claim to in the day of judgment – “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” (Matthew 7:21-23). But to these He said He would declare – “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” And what is their lawlessness? There are certainly two very clear items of guilt we address here – (1) their rejection of the Scripture’s clear instructions regarding the role of women, and (2) their place in leading the way in divorce, strictly forbidden by Yahshua, even excelling the non-Christian by another quarter, or 9%! But the fact is, very few churches are not guilty of these two practices.
The study cited additional data showing that most Americans, even most Christians, reject that divorce is a sin. Barna reports that 24% of “born again” adults strongly agreed with the statement – “when a couple gets divorced without one of them committing adultery, they are committing a sin.” With the state of the church and the rate of divorce, this is a surprising figure. An equal 24% only moderately agreed. And a clear majority of “born again” adults, or 52%, disagreed that divorce without adultery was sin. Thus, 76% of “born again” Christians either doubt or flatly reject that which Yahshua clearly stated regarding divorce. Again, what then is a “believer”?
And by the way, the percentage of atheists and agnostics who had been divorced was relatively close to that of Christians – 37%, only 2% more! But the shame of it all is that the divorce rate of Muslims and Hindus in other countries is far less than that for American Christians, who claim to know the truth. This reminds me of what Yahshua said concerning Nineveh, the hated Assyrians who repeatedly oppressed the sons of Israel – they will “stand up with this generation at the judgment and will condemn it.” They repented, Yahshua said, but the generation at His coming did not (Matthew 12:41).
In like manner, Muslims and Hindus will stand up with this generation of Christians at the judgment and will condemn them (if they are not doing so now) for not obeying Yahweh’s instructions regarding marriage, the role of women, head coverings, and worldliness. It is quite revealing that America is being judged by those who fervently hold to these very things wherein America is guilty of failure and neglect. And they have a fervor and avid devotion for their service to Allah that America has lost. Thus, they justly judge us without hypocrisy. In great part the reason Muslims hate Christian America is because of its immorality; and in this regard, they are entirely correct. They do not want American immorality in their country. I say – Amen! On these issues, I’d rather stand with the Hindu and the Muslim at the judgment.
Most Christians simply want to feel good and possess what they think is the way of escape – “salvation”; but they are not willing to pay the price of sacrifice and obedience and separation. That is why Yahshua equally said, just before His statement concerning the consequence to those who “practice lawlessness,” that “the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Vast Christianity is a B-R-O-A-D gate; proven to be, as we see here, as broad as the ways of the world, or even broader! Sadly, there is no distinct contrast between Christians and the world. Christians are not a set-apart people. And the only thing more detestable than sin is hypocrisy.
As additional information, following is a graph showing the ranking of divorce levels in the world. Shamefully, America tops the chart at nearly four times the world average. And we wonder why the Muslims despise us?
On the subject of abortion, reliable unbiased statistics are hard to find. A study published by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, an affiliate of Planned Parenthood, says that almost 250,000 abortions are performed each year in the U.S. on women who identify themselves as “born-again” or evangelical Christians. Approximately 1.37 million abortions are performed in the United States each year. Thus, almost one in six abortions are performed on “born again” Christians. Their study shows that 43% of women obtaining abortions identify themselves as Protestant, and 27% as Catholic, for a total of 70% of all U.S. abortions.
Continuing with this matter of marriage and divorce, another passage that addresses this is in 1 Corinthians 7:10-15. Here the issue of divorce per se is not specifically mentioned, but rather that of separation. In fact, the two Greek words translated “divorce” in these accounts of Yahshua concerning marriage and divorce are not used by Paul. Instead, he uses three other Greek words that we will now note. However, as Paul states, the first two verses of what he said here are a repeat of the instructions of “the Lord.” Therefore, they do relate to that which He declared in Matthew 5:31-32 and 19:3-9. Here are the Greek words and their meanings.
Now for what Paul wrote.
10 But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not separate (chorizo) from her husband
11 (but if she is separated [chorizo], she must remain unmarried [agamos], or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not send away or leave (aphiemi) his wife.
12 But to the rest I say, not the Lord, that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not send away or leave (aphiemi) her.
13 And a woman who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, she must not send away or leave (aphiemi) her husband.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy.
15 Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him separate (chorizo); the brother or the sister is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.
The message here by Paul is clear and straightforward. However, there are some who want to falsely assume that the statement, “not under bondage,” is providing a right to divorce and remarry. But this is not the case whatsoever. The matter here is that of separation. First, verse 11 already states that if there is a separation then they must remain unmarried, unless reconciled to their spouse. Furthermore, we know that the instructions of “the Lord” are that if one divorces and remarries (except for the cause of infidelity), then it is adultery. No, Paul is only saying that if the unbeliever leaves, let them leave; they are not responsible for the unbeliever’s actions. And of course he concurs with that which Yahshua stated – “What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate,” even when their union is with an unbeliever. (For an examination of 1 Corinthians 7:28 where Paul states, “But if you marry, you have not sinned,” click here. This passage is often taken out of context so as to falsely justify divorce and remarriage.)
It is very significant to note that Paul affirmed that the covenant of marriage that was made before a conversion was to remain. What Paul said here is actually quite incredible and lends great strength to the indelible nature of the marriage covenant. He stated that though light and darkness are now united, not even this nullifies the “from the beginning” union of two into one. The weight of this is made even more evident when we read that Paul equally demanded – “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). But when that divine union preexisted, it prevails! Again, this is an incredible statement regarding the immutableness of marriage! Even in the union of righteousness and lawlessness, of light and darkness, the marriage remains. Just as Yahweh God is immutable, so marriage is immutable (except in the case of infidelity).
At this writing, I have now been separated from my wife for more than three years. As long as I hold to my beliefs regarding the state and order of the church, my wife has said she will not return. But that is the price I pay for my convictions. Honestly, there have been many times throughout this period, even recently, that I have wanted to divorce her. These are periods of weakness, and I would have only gone by my feelings had I done so. But I will not divorce her, for “what God has joined together, let no man separate.”
Some try to justify divorce by referring back to the Old Testament laws regarding it. But Yahshua already stated that “from the beginning it has not been this way,” and that the only reason Moses added divorce was because of the hardness of their hearts. Yahshua laid out the will of Yahweh God “from the beginning,” declaring that divorce violates His will and His ways, and that marriage after divorce is adultery. Before Yahshua they were ignorant of their violation of the ways of Yahweh, and committed adultery in ignorance. But since Yahshua, we are not ignorant, and are thus held more accountable for our surpassing knowledge, as we have already read. As He stated, “To whom much is given, much is required” (Luke 12:48). Thus, divorce and remarriage is now willful sin, and we read that those who practice such will accordingly be held accountable and will eradicate their “sacrifice for sins.” Therefore, going back and sighting the Old Testament is to totally ignore what Yahshua said, which is to one’s own harm.
One man wrote and asked – If Moses allowed divorce because of hardness of hearts, would it not be “allowed” today for the same original reason? Frankly, this kind of justification is what gets people in so much trouble and causes Christianity to be just like the world. If you follow this mentality, then you have to conclude that it is OK to commit adultery. And if it is OK to commit adultery in regard to marriage and divorce, then it is equally OK to commit adultery while married, for adultery is adultery. This kind of weaseling to try to justify divorce is pathetic and leads to sin.
Many years ago I was surprised to find out that Yahweh Himself issued a writ of divorce. In Malachi 2:16 He forthrightly declared – “For I hate divorce” – and to hear that He Himself practiced divorce was startling! Today, having now closely examined this matter, it is obvious that His doing so was very consistent with what Yahshua declared. Let us see.
Yahshua said that divorce is contrary to the order of Yahweh. In our minds we should hold the attitude that divorce is sin and that Yahweh hates it. But there is one exception to this, and that is when either partner is unfaithful in sexual relations. This is a highly determining issue to Yahweh! Not only is sexual unfaithfulness the sole grounds for divorce, in the Law it carried with it the penalty of death. “If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death” (Leviticus 20:10).
If someone ever says to you in defense of divorce that God Himself divorced, which was in regard to Israel, remind them of why He did so. In Jeremiah 3:6-9 Yahweh asks Jeremiah – "Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there.” He then adds that “for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce. … Because of the lightness of her harlotry, she polluted the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.”
So why then did Yahweh give Israel a writ of divorce and send her out of the house, out of the land at the hands of the Assyrians? He did so for the sole reason Yahshua said divorce is fitting – because of infidelity. Israel had committed adultery, and in fact had become a harlot; and this is the only provision that Yahweh allows as justification for divorce. All other divorce is sin.
Continue to page 2 of Divorce, Women, and the Curse of 1920 for “DESPOTISM OF THE PETTICOAT”